Friday, June 29, 2007

Reality + Adult Kids

The truth is that my kids were only expensive for 1 year - the year we moved and had to scramble to find housing for them because they needed to be in the city and didn't have enough warning about the move to prepare. For the boys, it's a matter of pride to not need money from the old people and Paula just accepts tuition, books and health plan benefits. It's more a realization of what it could have cost if they'd been different. And I'm still secretly or not so secretly hoping that Peter and John will want more education. David's always taking classes through the navy, John's taking many mini courses through his union and Peter is always researching something for his writing so they're pursuing alternative paths to learning and that's a good choice too. Peter and Paula made the choice to not buy a car until they actually could afford all the related costs which explains how they manage. The unknown is the weddings but they've been practical about everything else so it's likely they'll be practical about that as well. Peter lives at home but he certainly is an asset to have around.

The New Primate

This is the first time that I've been old enough to read a Primate's biography and look for points of connection. My son checked out the Anglican Church when he moved to Nova Scotia. He thought the Greeter was a bit suspicious of navy kids so now he's going R.C. - late Sunday afternoon service beside a Tim Hortons. Just thought you'd like to know. He's a regular attender and a good giver - made a mistake letting that one get away.

And I loved the interview with Lynn where she explains the difference 3 years can make and why Toronto now seems like such a great idea. Your son the jazz musician, my son the writer - not exactly investment bankers, eh. So are you looking for the tiniest place you can find to maintain the empty nest or are you looking for a large place with enough spare rooms to accommodate family and extended family? The baby boomers love you already - nothing is as bonding as housing issues. Perhaps there's a window of opportunity. Parents of young adult children feel a need for God - an all knowing, everywhere presence - and might be drawn to a church with leadership that gets it - that really knows the boatload of money it takes to launch kids today.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Conservative Bishops

I like working for a Conservative Bishop for the same reasons that Morgan Freeman prefers living in the South to the North. The rules are clearer. The consequences are clearer as well.
Freeman maintains that being raised in the South will not hinder your chances in any way.
"It's no harder for anybody than it is for anybody else. It's hard for everybody." Liberal Bishops say there are no winners or losers. Not true. It's hard for everybody. Loss and gut wretching pain come to everyone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Same Sex Blessings

The details of what passed and didn't and how the numbers fell can be found at In a world without social commitments, I would have sat glued to my computer screen listening to everyone's moment at the microphone but I kept having to wonder away as I prepared for and attended 3 pot luck meals that weekend. I'm hoping there will be opportunities to hear whatever I missed live.
I know and respect people who voted on both sides of the issue. The wonderful and the difficult part is that these were sincere people who really wanted to do the just thing while being true to their fundamental belief system. They say it was a city/rural split but I think it was something different. The Bishops I personally knew who voted against it were or had been Bishops in Dioceses where a large percentage of parishioners had attended Indian Residential Schools. And the ones who voted in favour, were Bishops who had done significant amounts of work in Dioceses where many of the parishioners are homosexuals. It's really a matter of who you know, whose stories have deeply touched, who you have made a commitment to.
And what it really boils down to is do you believe that people can control their sexuality - that they can commit to lifelong, monogamous relationships? The Bishops would really like to believe that all of their clergy and their parishioners can control their sexuality but it seems like a lot of their time is spent on sorting through sexuality issues.

Commencement Addresses

Dana Gioia gave a Stanford Commencement Address on June 17th. Some students thought he wasn't famous enough. So he talks about how few living thinkers and artists today have name recognition within society because the arts programs have been cut in favour of programs with more commercial value.

What do you remember about the commencement address on your graduation day? I mainly remember wanting to get out of the hall and hoping it would be short. Most people put quite a bit of thought into their address and I really hope more of them will be posted on the web. Graduation day just isn't the best listening day - large hot auditorium, hundreds of people to process across the stage, pictures, flowers, visiting parents, saying goodbye to friends, remember to return the rental cap and gown - way too much happening.

After the hoopla is over, in the comfort of your home, that's the time to process the words that someone hoped would enrich your life.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Busy Men & Communication

Giving credit where credit is due, I'm very impressed with our former Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson and with Dr. George Lundberg, Editor of MedGenMed, for their commitment to two-way discussion of issues that need raising. Wanting to watch the General Synod proceedings, I went to and during the periods when nothing was being transmitted, I clicked on the link to Conversations with the Primate. Imagine my surprise to discover the communication problem was totally mine - the Primate had been creating podcasts and asking for feedback for 3 years. I hadn't linked into it but I'm quickly catching up as I don't know where that information will go when the new Primate-elect Bishop Fred Hiltz put his own information on the Primate's page.

Dr. George D. Lundberg recently did an editorial podcast on doctors being poor funeral attenders and whether or not that hurts the profession. We passed a couple of emails back and forth which impressed me enough to do a google search and a search on . I came up with 561 editorials which ended with "Readers are encouraged to respond to George Lundberg, M.D." This man is not a person to avoid contraversy and he has the scars to prove it. In a profession with so much memorization, it's wonderful to have a person throw out an unanticipated idea to get people out of autopilot and thinking for themselves.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Household Management Bag

So what's in my household management bag:

Well the picture on the cover is from Nemo - it's the big ole swimming turtle with its school of fish and little turtles. As long as the little fishes and turtles aren't willing to pitch in and help, this big ole swimming turtle is going to be pretty slowed down getting anywhere.
Inside there are 3 booklets representing 3 somewhat achievable methods:
The first one is my printouts from who is into daily, consistent routines. Her plan is the one that's actually somewhere in my head.
Then there is the Christmas/Easter marathon cleaning session that is part of our collective memory of religious correctness. This is huge - there's a grand plan for cleaning the house and then an enormous grand plan for preparing for Christmas. It starts in August whereas I feel successful if I've started prior to the day before Christmas Reality is that I'm big on Advent and Lent and am either deeply meditative or off at a church event. My second son is more into decorating and preparing the house for Christmas.
That's followed by the 3rd booklet which I've labeled Plan Ahead Checklists. It has checklists to make sure you never run out of anything, can grab a packed bag for any imaginable activity, are prepared for every conceivable emergency, etc. I slowly plug away at that one. Some of the lists were prepared by Thomas Leonard the founder of Coachu. He had all his plans in place and working well and died very prematurely from a heart attack. It puts the whole thing in perspective.
And then there's the secret booklet 4. The fantasy booklet. The pages I've ripped out of Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple (which is actually Real Hard).
And get this - There's a separate whole bag for interior decorating or "ignore the mess and send my mind to an imaginary life". And just to show you what a great imagination I have, my favourite decorating magazine is Architectural Digest. Actually I have a real appreciation for hair dressers, doctors, dentists with really great magazines in their waiting rooms.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Goal Setting and Binders

This is where I actually began the goal setting process. As I downloaded things from the internet, I decided to store the information in binders. I forget what I don't see and binders look ok sitting out on a bookshelf. I'm also pretty klutzy so with binders I don't have to worry about everything scattering if I should happen to drop one.
Over the 12 years I've been on the internet, it was very obvious that everything I was interested in fits into about a dozen or so broad categories. So I have lots of information fairly well sorted but the binders are just too heavy and awkward to enjoy working with. So now I'm taking what's in those folders, dividing it into 3 subthemes and picking the best of the best to put in the duo tangs folders (still keeping everything clipped together) that will be going into the gift bags.
So the broad categories are faith; health; writing; the seasons (Christmas, Easter - anything that everyone comes home to celebrate); household management or really what to do with the mess; food; paper crafts/calligraphy; quotations; pictures I've collected from magazines; the arts (music, dance, etc); finances (I'm the one that's supposed to have the plan for the kids' education, weddings, our retirement, and anything else that falls under miracles); neurodevelopment/neurodegeneration (the area I would have chosen to work in); coaching; and family health information.

Goal Setting & Gift Bags

I have a bunch of gift bags suspended from a closet door in my office. Paula's love seat is in there and if I nap on it, I wake up staring at the gift bags so I'm constantly reminded of my goals. Inside each folder there is an average of 3 duo tang folders with notes and pictures on different components of reaching the goal and perhaps some useful small objects.
For example, the Winnie the Pooh gift bag is the one on health because I think it's healthier to use an image of a similar body type to one's own. Inside I have a folder on my online diet group Sparkspeople, a folder of appropriate menus and a folder of exercises that make sense to me. I also print on a calender with each month devoted to a different health theme with a suggestion for options toward achieving or preventing the month's health focus on each day. I also keep an exercise band and a pedometer in there so I don't have to hunt for them. This one is pretty complete and I'll tell you about the others as I finish them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vatican & Driving Rules
Vatican Issues Ten Commandments for Motorists
If the Roman Catholic Church is striving for relevancy and a concern close to many hearts, linking people's choices while in their cars to a thought or two for their immortal soul might be a good thing in a road rage, pressurized world.

Humor + Church Attendance

In Oldcastle, you couldn't enter the church without someone waiting to tell you a joke. So I decided to do a web search and and give myself a laugh. A little while ago, I was asked by a friend why I think church attendance is declining. I think the Roman Catholics may have discovered the answer to that question. On the church sign of St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, they displayed the message for those who couldn't figure it out themselves:
"Staying in bed shouting, Oh God! Does not constitute going to Church"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wreck This Journal
If you can't write in your journal because you're a perfectionist and prefer the pristine beauty of the unmarked page over your own handwriting, Kerri Smith has lots of ideas on how to mess up the journal enough to get past your fear of messes. There are a gallery of examples.
"Creative destruction is a term that refers to the act of making a physical change to an object, blank page or space. It is based on the premise that if you alter an object in some way, you are in fact participating in a creative experience (regardless of the outcome). The intent of creative destruction is to move beyond aesthetic judgements of whether a mark/alteration is good or bad, but instead to allow the mark to exist as documentation of a physical experience or as kind of expression. While the term “destruction” has historically had a negative connotation, in this context it is used to imply simply “alteration" Kerri Smith
Or in other words, people will know that you existed because of the creative mess you've left behind.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Parish Website

Lawrene Denkers is the mastermind behind the website for the Parish of the Transfiguration.
If you want to know where we are on any particular Sunday morning, check out the always current and accurate announcement page. I've looked at many parish websites and this one is in a league of its own.

Personal Development

Check out this personal development blog
It's written by an 18 year old and it's pretty amazing.
The only person I met who was dedicated and organized about pursuing personal development during the teen years was a staffer at Huron Church camp. In the old days, one of the duties of the camp nurse was to do a daily inspection of the cabins. I don't know when the neatness gene kicks in but the staff cabins tended to be a bit chaotic. Once I suggested to the guys that perhaps it was time for action but I soon discovered that the solution hadn't been to fill garbage bags but rather to sweep everything through the trap door and down under the building. I decided fast food boxes inside the building potentially attracting flies and mice were preferable to fast food boxes under the building attracting skunks and raccoons. Perhaps they took pity on me or grew weary of the situation, but they did do a major cleanup after the next day's inspection. I suppose they waited until after inspection to show it was their idea and not caving in to the rating system.
So back to my story about the staffer with an interest in personal motivation. She had a bunk bed to herself. The top bed was totally covered with the kind of stuff you can buy at drug stores - shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics, body lotions, etc. As she told me, "One can never have too many personal hygiene items". She had covered her wall space with motivational quotes and goals. I was pretty impressed and every once in a while I send out a little prayer for her and her dreams of achievement.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Young Nurses

Ok, here's what I really think. I stopped paying registration fees when I was 45. I think it's the story of carrying the calf every day and as it grows into a bull, you'll have the muscles of an ox or Paul Bunyan or whatever. If you started nursing young, continued working, lifted weights, maintained your girlhood figure and have postmenopausal jest, go for it. During WWII, Britain said the postmenopausal nurse could work circles around the young nurses.
But to be honest, I thought I was going to die of exhaustion at 33 when I was pregnant and had 3 preschoolers who never seemed to be asleep at the same time and I had a work crew of prisoners helping me watch the kids. So if I had to decide who needed all the special accommodations, I would look at a whole cluster of things.
All those 40 something actresses who said they were very young 40s in excellent condition found that their ovaries thought otherwise. I was born matronly and out of condition so it was a no brainer for me to decide that it was in the best interests of everyone for me to remove myself from the College of Nurses list of RNs. And if I'm a patient lying in a hospital bed and my heart stops, I don't care what the age of the nurse is - I want the one that can sprint down the hall the fastest, get a bedboard under me, hop up on the bed and do CPR the longest. I don't want to be the nurse who has a heart attack herself in the midst of that dramatic situation and divides the focus of the crash team.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Retaining the Older Employee

If you want to continuing working beyond the traditional retirement age, this is an ideal time to start studying what changes in working conditions could be negotiated to make that possible. To jumpstart your thinking, I'm looking at Karen Hart's research in health care.

Because the average age of an American nurse is now 48 and increasing with each survey, hospitals are considering the following accommodations to make it possible for an older body to do a job as physically demanding as nursing. Personally I think the ones involving lifting are the most crucial as I'm not sure Rambo could safely lift the over 400 lb patient.

Flexible shifts (option of 4, 6, and 8-hours, as well as job sharing)
Patient assignments in clusters to avoid extensive walking
Improved design of patient units with an emphasis on flooring, lighting, placement of nurses' stations, etc.
Ergonomics committees and training
Mechanical devices to assist with patient lifting, such as over-the-bed lift devices, etc.
Patient stretcher beds that convert to chairs
Bariatric patient equipment/accommodations
Lift teams
Transport teams
Improved lighting accommodations for older workers
Ergonomically improved office equipment (computers, desks, chairs, lighting, etc.)
Job sculpting (redefining/redesigning work roles/reskilling) for mature workers
Financial/retirement planning assistance
Implementation of wellness programs (strength training, etc.)
Back care/safety training
On-site or subsidized health club membership
Stress-reduction training
Use of older workers to mentor newer employees and intergenerational workshops/committees
Flexible benefit packages
Reduced floating and overtime for tenured employees
Flexible/phased retirement options
Knowledge transfer

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

University Tuition

I've been leaving Retirement Planning books strategically located around the house. The kids just don't have it through their heads that their father will be 65 in 9 years. I use 65 to get them thinking - I doubt Stephen will ever stop working. They think they have an infinite amount of time in which to realize an education would be useful. And I'm saying, "Get on with it already. Tuition fees only go up and the financial offers we made to you were based on the assumption that you'd all be finished school before the breadwinner's retirement."
On the other hand, the breadwinner occasionally says, "If I were going to get a doctorate, I think it would be in (it changes). And sometimes I think if someone could guarantee I'd live to 90 with my brain cells still firing, it might be worth going back to school myself. Reality is that the return on investment makes it unreasonable - independent learning is a much more rational decision for us. The diplomas I have live a hidden life in the bottom of my dresser drawer. The last time anyone asked to see them was November 1978.
Hubby and I were discussing the other day what the differences would be between life in a university dorm and life in a senior's apartment once the baby boomers re-design retirement. To loosely borrow from a line in Dirty Dancing, "No one is going to leave the boomers sitting in a corner." I don't know what they'll be doing but it's bound to be breath taking.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blog Criticism

I began by reading: "... chronic experience of stress affects the area of the brain that governs stress response," Dr. Wilson said. "Unfortunately, that part of the brain also regulates memory." Or in other words, if you think distressing thoughts all the time, the brain might just hit the "delete all memories" button.
In response, I'm providing you with a link suggesting 10 thinking sins you might be commiting. Being a blogger, I printed out suggestion 8 for you:
8. Your blog sucks. It’s super lame. You should stop writing, because you’re a moron and I hope you never reproduce.
He then goes on to tell you why that isn't nice for either you or the recipient and offers this advice:
Solution: Learn to offer constructive solutions, first of all. Instead of telling someone their blog sucks, or that a post is lame, offer some specific suggestions for improvement. Help them get better. If you are going to take the time to make a comment, make it worth your time. Second, learn to interact with people in a more positive way — it makes others feel good and it makes you feel better about yourself. And you can make some great friends this way. That’s a good thing.

Music & Writing

This is a question and my answer from an online journalling list that I belong to. If you'd like to join the list Usually they pose a weekly question about the writing life that everyone discusses.
Q. Does your journal have its own soundtrack in your head? Do you listen to music while you write and is it anything in particular or just what's playing on the radio? Do you find the tone of your entries to be affected by what you're listening to? Do you ever write about music?

A. What a great question!! Music is an add-on in my life rather than my heartbeat. I've had many semesters of choral singing lessons and I can play piano and accordian on a very basic level but I'm nowhere close to an untrained person with any level of a gift for music. When I set out to write, I don't think about music and therefore have nothing playing in the background. The reverse can happen. If I start with music - with deliberately selecting a tape or cd, I don't skip around but rather go from beginning to end and when I start to lose interest, instead of shutting the music off, I start surfing until I find something that interests me to the level that I want to share what I've found or share a thought inspired by it.

My son, on the other hand, is a drummer. The drums express his emotions and when he's through drumming, he'll work on his screenplays or write song lyrics. When you read his writing, you can feel the rhythm of the drums. And that is why I know that my son is a thousand times more powerful a writer than I am. He has a gift. He writes from the soul. He puts his heartbeat on the paper.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Honorary Degrees
Ever wonder about who gets an honorary degree? The above link will connect you to a list of the people who have received honorary degrees from UWO since 1981. I did a google search on some of the names to see why they made the list.
I'm sure everyone knows who Paris Hilton is but how many of UWO's best of the best list are recognized outside their field. So if you're going through a midlife crisis and wondering if anyone knows your name, well redirect your mind. Maybe it's not how many people know your name but rather whether or not you're work is respected by those qualified to evaluate it and by those who have benefited from your skills.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Old Age Psychiatry

Seminars in Old Age Psychiatry; Edited by Rob Butler and Brice Pitt
The full text of this College textbook is available here, and has been provided as a service for members of the Faculty of the Psychiatry of Old Age.
Who even knew there was such a thing as a Faculty of the Psychiatry of Old Age?
I did a google search of Brice Pitt after reading this article:
Psychiatrist Brice Pitt on Ian McKellen's King Lear,,2095667,00.html
With our ever aging populations, I found this line interesting:
When Lear punched Kent, I found myself thinking: "This old man is the terror of the nursing home." That is a type of character I know very well. Like Lear, he usually has a history of arrogance and tremendous impatience. People will say of him, "He was always very difficult, but now he has become impossible-"
I doubt that Canada is assessing the terror of the nursing home beyond determining the level of progressive sedation required to manage the problem. Do Psychiatrists visit nursing homes and who is diagnosing the specific type of dementias in the nursing home population?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Patricia Wynne
This is a google authors video of Patricia Wynne. She is an absolutely amazing scientific illustrator. Her job is the perfect combination of science and the arts. The interview is mainly about the book "Bones, Brains & DNA". She's a contract scientific illustrator for the American Museum of Natural History. Take a peak at her work. It's beautiful, detailed and extremely accurate - more accurate than a photograph.

Right-Brained Vision Statement

Lee Silber sent a link to his own Vision Statement. It's not what you expect. It's a pictorial slideshow with very few words but it definitely appeals to the right brain.

Monday, June 4, 2007

100 Mile Diet & 10,000 Steps

Resources at your local library (I'm sure it's happening all over, I just happen to be in Chatham-Kent_
Chatham-Kent has published a map of local producers to make it simpler for people to buy their food directly from the growers. It's titled "Buy Local, Buy Fresh". Reasons to Eat Locally:
There's also a program where you can pick up a booklet and pedometer to track the number of steps you take. That's called "Start Walking Chatham-Kent "94 Days of Summer" Walking Campaign. Here's a site to help you get to your 10,000 steps a day. Personally I seem to have quite a bit of trouble getting a pedometer to work properly probably because of my rollie abdomen. At the moment I've attached it to a lightweight ladies' style carpenter's apron and am experimenting with the best placement to actually get the thing to record all the steps. I got nowhere attaching it to the elastic waistband of my jeans and workout pants. Actually it's a good question to post on Sparkpeople. Will let you know if they have a better solution.
There's also a map of local gardens, nurseries and garden wares called "Garden Routes of Canada South, Essex & Chatham-Kent Counties".

TED: Ideas Worth Sharing

You've got to check out this website Ideas Worth Sharing: Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers. I've watched Charles Leadbeater: The rise of the amateur professional. He's basically saying that 1% of people want to move from being consumers of information and products to putting suggestions and models out there on how whatever they are consuming can be improved. If you find his video presentation interesting, he has put his entire book that is being published this summer on the web for people to read and critique. This link takes you to his video and this link takes you to his book

Changes to Blog

I had a dream that is resulting in changes to this blog. I shared some of the midlife stuff I'm working through which actually was quite helpful for me. Well on Saturday night, I dreamt that it was a bit like deciding to try on clothes in the middle of the shopping mall. I might be all into self acceptance but it probably wouldn't be a pretty sight and actually likely downright uncomfortable for other people. So I deleted a few posts and will probably do revisions to some others. Sorry for the self-indulgent period but there's a learning curve to everything including blogging.